Troy at Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt)
Murphy Athletics Center - Murfreesboro, TN
8:00 PM EST
With most schools in finals, it's a light schedule this week. But the Sun Belt has found the time to squeeze in a league preview on an eight-game Thursday, to the relief of our intrepid G!O!T!N! crew, all of whom are 1099'ed and need the work. The economy's too tough to preempt this feature.
Tonight's Belt East battle gives us a chance to check in on the presumptive league favorite, at least until Western Kentucky started going all nutzoid on power conference teams like Georgia and Louisville. The Blue Raiders are 3-3 and have performed predictably against a Jekyll-Hyde schedule, beating the D-I transitionals it's come up against, and keeping within 10 points of its trio of opponents above the Red Line (Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Houston). The team that returned everybody has the upperclassman leadership it advertised, with four in double figures led by 6-7 junior Desmond Yates
(16.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg). We'll have to wait until Jan. 15 for the Blue Pegasi
-Hilltopper Classic, but a league game's a league game.
As for the Trojans (3-5), it's just another program that's in the wrong place because of the power of the turd-shaped orb. Since moving from the Atlantic Sun to the Belt for football reasons after the 2004-05 season, Troy has gone 17-33 in league games and has seen its seed slip from West-6 to 8 to 12. It's a shame, too, because Don Maestri's 3-happy style is great for the A-Sun, and the Belt is full of tough, muscle-stacked midsizers who will have nothing of your big fun arc party. Its uptempo style has beought the team nice wins over Northwestern State and Georgia State, but in nonconference play, the upperclass-heavy Trojans allowed 95.3 ppg on the road.Basketball State Preview/Box